THE CREATIVE ADVENTURE
Each project is unique and diverse, but when like minds and hearts collaborate there is always reliable magic. This is how these featured recent projects have unfolded.
Based On A True Story
A well-known Australian actress asked for collaborative support to develop a concept for a feature film in the spirit of the beloved film Rabbit Proof Fence.
Fictional stories, characters and plots certainly have a level of impact with audiences. But a drama based on true events always has greater emotional impact. The team for this new film prepared a plan for shooting documentary-style footage to serve as a foundational backdrop.
The result will be a rich package of research, writing, and relationships on which to build the feature film. It will be a story woven from a tapestry of historically accurate events into a narrative of love, loss, tragedy and redemption.
Lydia and her colleagues quickly gathered to get things moving from concept to the first phase of execution in just a few weeks. And they worked with the kind of love and connection that will be present in everything that follows.
The Muse On Our Shoulder
A renowned spiritual teacher invited Lydia to climb large boulders in a canyon to get to know each other better before beginning the ghostwriting process on his new book. At a precarious moment, he offered his hand to steady her and asked if she was nervous about the hike and the project. Of course she was and they had a good laugh about their predicament. His broken English was difficult for her to understand and she didn’t read or speak a word of his native language. The deadline was a tight one.
With that moment of candor “on the rocks,” they agreed to begin that day and invent a collaboration process. He traveled the world speaking and teaching and didn’t care for the writing process, so he wanted his manuscript to appear as if by magic. One long recorded interview and some rough notes was all Lydia had to generate the manuscript. As she concluded the final chapter, it was clear to her that key content was missing.
Lydia tuned into what she imagined this teacher would want to share with readers and wrote intuitively in his voice. He loved the entire manuscript and especially the final chapter. This unusual collaboration had worked. Lydia knows and has experienced many times how the guiding muse will always sit on the shoulder of those who humbly ask—as surely as the sun rises in the morning.
The producers and director had already shot a third of the footage for a feature film when Lydia was called in as a story consultant. They felt that the narrative wasn’t holding together and the characters were lacking depth. Although stylish and powerful cinematically, the film needed more emotional connection and richer character relationships. One producer later explained that when Lydia walked in they relaxed, because it was like seeing an elegant Mary Poppins pulling things out of her bag to put the film in proper order and create a solid spine for the story.
Lydia interviewed various real people like the characters portrayed in the film to refine plot details and to generate believable dialogue. She capitalized on the unique strengths of everyone on the team to complete the final shooting script delivered on deadline. The resulting story created a richer connection with the audience and a film that the producers knew was well made.
Act On Instinct
A talented writer was caught in a bind of multiple complexities. She had to generate a book proposal for a powerful agent and she had a very tight deadline. Lydia was brought in to help find the book concept in a room full of at least two thousand pages of content that had been written over the years when flashes of inspiration hit. The material wasn’t organized or structured. It wasn’t clear what form the book would take—nonfiction, memoir, or a collection of teachings. This was the author’s first book, so there was the added complication of discovering her unique writing style and way of generating work. It takes time for a writer to develop their process and unlock their own powerful and unique way of creating, but in this case, there was no time.
Lydia arrived with only an overnight bag, but ended up staying for nine days and nights as they worked around the clock with meals brought in and taking short naps in shifts. This rather extreme creative journey generated tremendous inspiration. The vision unfolded not just for one, but for several books. The agent said that the book proposal was the best he’d seen in thirty years.
It takes courage to step into the unknown, as if walking in the dark with a candle, only seeing a few inches ahead. The reward of acting on instinct is illumination and a sense, looking back, that something particularly hard was also a delightful adventure.
There was a polished manuscript and it was very well written. The subject was compelling. The author had a great “platform,” which in the publishing world means that the author is a recognized authority and has an established following that will drive sales and media attention. The book had obvious viability because the author had a five-figure offer on the table. But as good as the book was, it was clear to Lydia that it could be better. It would be a missed opportunity if the book didn’t reach its full potential.
Lydia encouraged the author to take the risk and reach deeper. Together they explored ways to enhance the storytelling and add more personal revelation to the narrative. This immediately triggered the author—who needed to overcome patterns of suppressing her full voice and power. The healing process that followed generated a book that was deeply personal to the author and resonated with readers. The selling price was four times the original offer and the book was a critical success and a New York Times bestseller. The project succeeded because of the willingness to go deeper.